China: 浅论国际商事仲裁中的第三方资助制度

Last Updated: 5 November 2019
Article by Huayan Liu and Jianming Wang
Most Read Contributor in China, October 2019

浅论国际商事仲裁中的第三方资助制度——以新加坡和香港第三方资助仲裁制度比较分析为视角

一、什么是国际商事仲裁第三方资助

国际商事仲裁第三方资助是指国际商事仲裁中,案件当事人之外的第三方向作为仲裁当事人的被资助方直接或间接提供资金或者其他实质性的支持,以期获得/分取仲裁裁决带来的直接经济利益的行为。这是一种仲裁费用分担机制,也是一种融资投资方式。

纠纷当事人寻求第三方介入的诱因繁多,主要包括三大类:一是缺乏启动和运行国际商事仲裁程序的资金;二是自身有资金但出于优化资本利用率的考量不愿投入到争议解决中;三是转移败诉风险。而对于第三方来说,资助仲裁本质上是一种投资行为,其以被投资方仲裁胜诉后的可得利益为投资目标,在胜诉的情况下按双方资助协议约定的比例分享胜诉利益。所以一般而言,第三方资助者在其进行资助之前都会对纠纷进行全面的尽职调查,特别是对仲裁预算与仲裁可回收款项的比例和案件本身的胜诉率的评估考量。当然如若被投资方败诉,依当前主流观点和实践操作,资助方无权追索。

二、第三方资助的发展轨迹

第三方资助的产生与发展是法律资本市场发展的一个视角。第三方资助最早出现于英美法系国家的诉讼领域的助讼和包揽诉讼的行为,是西方封建领主获得更多的土地所有权的手段和工具。因为当时的司法制度落后,监督体系不健全,这种行为的存在破坏了司法公正性,造成了滥诉与诽谤的滋生,同时为了阻止封建领主的扩张,这种助讼和包揽诉讼行为逐渐被禁止。

普通法系历来反对金融家对民事司法系统的任何干预侵犯——助讼和包揽诉讼原则("the doctrines of maintenance and champerty"),限制使用外部资金为诉讼提供资金,因为担心这会"玷污司法的纯粹性"。然而随着经济的发展,潜在的公共政策考虑已经转变了方向。在中世纪的英格兰,人们对软弱无力的法庭在面对肆无忌惮的贵族时需要保护的担忧已经转变为一种更为现代的考量,即民事司法系统对许多人来说已经变得过于昂贵。第三方资助能使得民事司法救济更易获得的优势逐步显现,而第三方资助禁令在今天已经不合时宜。

近年来,澳大利亚、美国、英国、香港和新加坡等国家和地区先后打破了对第三方资助的固有限制,如英国、美国、澳大利亚在司法判决中认可第三方资助在民事诉讼领域的合法性。诉讼资助"行业"在澳大利亚约有20多年的历史,而在英格兰和威尔士约有其一半的历史。这些司法管辖区为一个成熟的行业提供了重要的司法经验。而新加坡和香港对这些先进经验和资源进行吸收借鉴,于2017年修改了法律,明确承认了第三方资助在仲裁中的合法地位。

三、第三方资助的优劣势分析

(一)第三方资助的积极影响

对于被资助者来说,首先,国际商事仲裁往往时间较长、成本高,第三方资助可以避免被资助者因为经济问题而面临无法申请国际商事仲裁来保障自身合法权益的困境。其次,第三方资助能够让被资助者实现仲裁败诉风险转移,因为业已支出的仲裁费用由资助方承担,且其不能因被资助方败诉而要求返还。此外,因为第三方资助者以仲裁胜诉后的可得利益为投资目标,其与被资助方为利益共同体,所以往往会为被资助者提供或寻求更为专业的法律服务,以弥补被资助方的不足,提高胜诉的几率。

对于资助者来说,第三方资助制度是一种新的投资方式,允许资助者在被资助者胜诉的情况下按约定分取一定比例的胜诉利益,而国际商事仲裁案件涉案标的额往往十分巨大,资助者虽然会面临案件败诉的较高投资风险,但同时其收益也是相当可观的。

对于仲裁机构来说,承认第三方资助制度的合法性并允许其适用会为其带来更多的仲裁案件,提升自己在国际仲裁领域的影响力,提高自己在国际仲裁中心的竞争优势。

对于法院来说,对其产生的最为主要的积极作用就是能够促进案件分流,缓解法院人少案多的办案压力。

(二)第三方资助的消极影响

对于仲裁程序本身而言,首先,第三方资助制度的存在可能会影响仲裁程序的中立性、公正性。当第三方资助者作为投资人的身份介入到仲裁中,在仲裁关系外又产生投资关系,使得仲裁商业化、复杂化;同时第三方资助行为具有隐蔽性,如若不主动披露,对方当事人与仲裁员往往无法知晓资助者与仲裁员是否存在厉害关系。一旦存在,显然会影响仲裁员的公正性,进而会影响仲裁程序的中立性和公正性。其次,第三方资助制度还可能会影响仲裁制度的保密性。国际商事仲裁所涉的纠纷往往是跨国纠纷且较多会牵涉商业秘密。但资助者为了降低投资风险必然会进行尽职调查,如向被资助者了解仲裁相对方的信息,或是通过其他途径来了解仲裁的相关情况,这显然会影响仲裁的保密性。

对于仲裁机构而言,第三方资助制度的存在容易产生滥诉问题。第三方资助者的出现缓解了仲裁当事人的经济压力,分担或转移了败诉风险,刺激国际仲裁案件数量激增,易造成滥诉的现象。

对于仲裁参与人员而言,第三方资助的存在可能会引发多重的利益冲突。比如资助者与仲裁对方当事人之间、与仲裁员之间,甚至与被资助者之间都会可能产生利益冲突。以后者为例,资助者与被资助者之间的利益大方向上是一致的,即获得仲裁庭的支持因而取得收益/赔付。但这种一致性在有些情况下可能会消失,例如在面对对方当事人的和解请求时,和解金额往往低于胜诉裁判,所以资助者为获得更多回报而干预和解、倾向于仲裁裁判,而被资助者往往会因为讼累而考虑和解,这就产生了双方之间的利益冲突。

四、新加坡与香港第三方资助仲裁制度比较

新加坡与香港的法律都借鉴吸收了英国许多在当时是更为成熟的司法和监管制度,其中就包括禁止助讼和包揽诉讼原则。但2017年对香港和新加坡的仲裁界来说都是一个重要的转折点,因为这两个司法管辖区都克服了与第三方资金相关的各种恐惧和挑战,通过立法允许第三方资金用于国际仲裁。第三方资助在其他设立国际仲裁的司法管辖区已经逐步得到认可,而香港与新加坡之间存在竞争传统,这促使两地都会主动或被动地效防对方推行的任何具有明显进步性或包容性的改革。毫无疑问,一旦其中一个司法管辖区采取措施使第三方资助合法化,另一个司法管辖区将很快效仿。

香港和新加坡采用的第三方资助合法化机制存在差异。但无论是哪一个司法辖区,推动其变革的核心动力或目标都是确保自己是一个有竞争力的仲裁中心。以下本文就这两个司法管辖区在立法上为第三方资助仲裁设立的法律制度、预设的监管框架和实质性保障约束措施进行比较分析。

(一)立法与监管态度

对于第三方资助制度,香港和新加坡均认可其在仲裁程序中的合法性。比较而言,新加坡通过修改其民法而主动前摄地废除禁止助讼和包揽诉讼原则,进而正在创建一个第三方资金可以很容易地扩展到其他形式的争端解决(尤其是法庭诉讼)的平台。而香港采取了一种更为保守的做法:通过修改其仲裁条例而使得在仲裁领域中第三方资金可以存在。此外,香港和新加坡均采取了澳大利亚、英国和威尔士所青睐的宽松监管模式("light touch approach")。新加坡司法部曾表明其改革"以意思自治和灵活性为优先,以披露为中心原则"。然而,如果资金安排构成对公共政策的滥用,仍有可能使其无法执行。这种途径是相对正确的。不言而喻,为了取得成功,监管必须有原则,并与相关的实际风险相称。对高风险行业监管不足可能导致市场行为失当,而对低风险行业监管过度则会抑制增长。由于第三方对仲裁资助的资金是无追索权的,这在本质上是一种自我调节:如果资助者资助不值得的债权,他们将失去他们的投资,所以宽松监管模式是与之适配的。

(二)适用范围

《2017年新加坡民法(修订)法案》规定了允许使用第三方资助的范围。这些程序包括国际仲裁程序连同任何辅助性的诉讼程序、调解程序和任何与国际仲裁裁决相关的执行程序。而依香港仲裁条例第98F条,第三方资助主要适用于仲裁程序连同与之相关的法院程序、在紧急仲裁员席前进行的程序及调解程序。

(三)对第三方出资人的基本要求

新加坡与香港均要求第三方出资人满足一定的最低标准。比如资本充足要求,以便确保受资方不会因出资方在仲裁过程中无法履行其义务而陷入"孤立无援"的境地。此外,在新加坡,第三方资助只能由其主要业务涉及提供此类资助的组织提供,如有不符合规定的情况(例如不符合资本充足要求),出资人将不再具有资格,其在第三方资助合同项下或产生的权利将不具有强制力,这包括那些对出资人来说至关重要的权利,比如在案件取得成功后分享收益权利。新加坡司法部有权就第三方资助者的定义、允许资助的争议的性质以及提供资助的方式等方面实施进一步的监管标准。而在香港,香港律政司作为香港仲裁条例第609章下的或授权机构,根据仲裁条例第98P条规定制定了第三方资助仲裁实务守则,明确了出自第三方在香港进行第三方资助仲裁相关活动时需要遵守的常规和标准。除了满足资本充足要求和资本充足程度披露义务外,还要求第三方出资人发布的任何宣传材料都必须是清晰和准确的、出资人必须确保被资助方在签署资助协议之前就其条款获得独立的法律咨询等等。

(四)披露与利益冲突

利益冲突是另一个显而易见的需要重点考虑的因素。如上所言,第三方出资人参与仲裁可能会导致出资人与仲裁员之间、或出资人与非受资方之间的冲突。为此,香港与新加坡均设置了披露义务。在香港,披露义务由受资助方承担。如果存在第三方资助协议,受资助方必须在仲裁开始时或在签订自主协议后15天内就该实施和第三方资助者的身份向参与仲裁的所有各方以及仲裁庭(或相关法院,如有)发出书面通知。而出资第三方须对受资助方进行提醒。而在新加坡,披露义务在法律从业者,即受资助方的律师。司法部相关文件表明会对《2015年法律职业(职业行为)规则》(The Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules 2015)进行修订,规定法律从业者有义务在切实可行的情况下尽快向法院、仲裁庭和其他所有仲裁当事人披露其客户由第三方出资,并披露第三方出资人的身份。这与香港的法定要求异曲同工,因为该规定适用于所有法律从业人员,包括在新加坡注册的律师以及受监管的外国律师。

由于国际仲裁程序的特殊性,这些披露要求反映了一种合理的立场。然而,这取决于一个重要的限定条件:向仲裁庭和对方当事人的披露应仅包括两点:第一,资金的存在(包括出资人的姓名和地址):第二,资助协议是否包含支付任何不利费用的内容(依协议当事人意思自治确定不利费用的承担问题)。当然,对立各方不应接触其对手的具体保密性资助安排,因为这些安排与争端的实质无关。披露时应当对所有商业敏感和个案敏感的细节(如诉讼预算,资金条款,或资助者的风险评估)进行保密编辑,毕竟这可能会给对方当事人带来一定战术优势。

(五)第三方出资人的控制问题

第三方出资人对仲裁的进行(特别是对争议的任何妥协和解)的控制程度是另一个核心问题。一般来说,出资人和被资助方在出资人的控制范围上享有自主协商决定权。新加坡采取了与英国类似的办法,认识到对程序的控制"应在资助协议中加以处理"。而香港的态度是禁止出资人"试图影响被资助方的法定代表将仲裁的控制权让与第三方出资人"以及"采取导致或可能导致被资助方的法定代表违反专业职责的任何措施"。此外其进一步规定禁止出资方寻求"控制或指导被资助方进行仲裁,包括但不限于谈判和达成任何和解"。这种较严格的做法反映了香港对第三方投资者可能会影响司法程序的关注和担忧。

在这个问题上,应当注意,受资助方律师对其当事人应负的道德和信托义务不得被资助方所限制或阻碍,同时当出资人与受资助方之间发生冲突时,受资助方代表律师必须有权自由地以最有利于受资助方的方式行事,即使这不利于资助者。这些保护性安排可以明确包含在资助协议中。

(六)保密性

显然,在第三方资助制度下,向出资人披露案件相关保密信息是不可避免的。毕竟资助者必须获得足够的信息来评估案件风险,然后才能签订资助协议。一旦资助者加入,其显然会希望监督程序的进展和发展。《香港仲裁条例》经过修订,允许披露受保护的信息,"以便从第三方获得或寻求第三方的资助资金"。但也相应的,将进一步加强资助者的保密义务,要求其依照香港法律及其他适用法律,为所有涉及有关仲裁及自主协议主要内容的资料和文件保密,并遵从有关法律专业保密权的规定,如在合同法项下,遵从第三方资助者和受资助方之间签署的任何保密协议的条款约定。而新加坡将在针对第三方资助者、律师和仲裁员的行业指导条例和最佳实践中解决保密问题。

五、总结

新加坡和香港的立法变化代表着第三方资助制度在国际仲裁领域的发展道路的分水岭。随着新加坡和香港立法态度的改变,第三方资助可以在亚洲仲裁界发挥更大的作用。目前第三方资助仲裁已经在诸多国家和地区方兴未艾,在国际贸易和国际争议解决中扮演着越来越重要的角色。我国已经是全球第二大经济体和进出口贸易第一大国,是第三方资助的一个巨大的潜在市场,相信第三方资助仲裁在我国会有美好的发展前景,也能为我国企业同"一带一路"沿线国家的争议解决提供新的思路。所以我们应当以开放包容的心态去面对蓬勃发展的第三方资助仲裁制度。

文中引用:

[1] Campbells Cash and Carry Pty Ltd v. Fostif Pty Ltd, (2006) 229 CLR 386.

[2] SG Regulations,S.3.

[3] 香港仲裁条例

[4] SG Act, cl.2 (new s.5(B(8))

[5] Legal Profession Act (Ch.161), Legal Profession (professional Conduct)(Amendment) Rules 2018, s.7 (new s.49A).

[6] Singapore Parliamentary Debates, Official Report (10 Jan. 2017) vol. 94 (Indranee Rajah, Senior Ministry of State for Law) ('Rajah Parliamentary Speech')

[7] HK Code

[8] Chiann Bao Third Party Funding in Singapore and Hong Kong: The Next Chapter.

[9] Public Consultation on the Draft Civil Law (Amendment) Bill 2016 ("Amendment Bill")

[10] Civil Law (Third Party Funding) Regulation 2016, Government of Singapore.

[11] Oliver Gayner & Susanna Khouri:Singapore and Hong Kong: International Arbitration Meets Third Party Funding.

[12]《香港第三者资助仲裁实务守则》

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions